Dartmoor Trust Seals ‘Historic’ Deal With Torquay Museum

August saw the final agreement being drawn up between the Dartmoor Trust and Torquay Natural History Museum for the digitisation of the last remaining major collection of nineteenth century and early twentieth century Dartmoor photographs.

Comprising over 7000 photographs work will begin on digital scanning in mid September with photographs appearing on the Dartmoor Trust Archive Website in the Autumn.

Tony Clark, Chairman of the Trust, signed off the agreement with the Museum having pledged £6500 towards the costs of the project: ‘We’re delighted’, he said ‘to see this collection finally being made accessible to the public.’

Barry Chandler, on behalf of the Museum, was also pleased to see the project underway. ‘Without the support of the Dartmoor Trust it’s doubtful if this superb collection of images would ever be secured for public view in this way.’

Award Presentation Evening

An inspirational and award winning project commemorating the First World war from Dartmoor’s perspective held a special evening last week to thank everyone who was involved in making it a success.
In 2015, the Dartmoor Life in the First World War project, mounted in partnership with the Dartmoor National Park Authority and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Your Dartmoor Fund, received 50,000 visits in five months to the exhibition at the High Moorland Visitor Centre, Princetown.
The project, which examined how the Great War impacted on Dartmoor families and the contribution made to the war effort, received awards for being the most inspirational and the best overall.
In presenting the prestigious awards to the Dartmoor Trust before an invited audience, John Chambers, Chief Executive of the Archive and Records Association and representing the United Kingdom and Ireland Community Archive and Heritage Group, said: ‘The exhibition and educational website distinguished itself through involving local history societies and developing young people’s interest in Dartmoor’s rich cultural heritage.’

Lt Col (Retd) Tony Clark OBE, Chairman of the Dartmoor Trust, thanked the Community Archive and Heritage Group for the honour bestowed on the Dartmoor Trust. He said: ‘Dartmoor’s local history groups, photo libraries and many individuals, which provided tremendous help, demonstrated yet again that the sum of the whole is greater than the parts.’
He expressed the gratitude of the Dartmoor Trust to Peter Mason from Lustleigh, who had curated the exhibition, Alan Simons of Touchwood Design in Okehampton, who created the panels, Bernard Whitehorn of Bridestowe for devising the educational website and Jess and Jamie Dunbar of Christow, who translated the imaginative ideas into computer speak.

In the 20 years since The Dartmoor Trust was formed, it has made a significant difference to Dartmoor. As an independent and non-political charity, it makes grants for practical projects that benefit Dartmoor, its landscape, archaeology, monuments and buildings, wildlife, recreational facilities and communities.

The Trust has supported over 50 projects, spanning from funding the repair of a church clock to repairing leats, a £10,000 project in conjunction with the National Park Authority.
Tony Clark, said: ‘Access to the Heritage Environment Record, which lists important archaeology, monuments and buildings, through the national system isn’t easy, so we have teamed up with DNPA to link the Trust’s photographs with the detailed descriptions on our Archive website and through the soon to be launched Heritage Trails, which will enable interesting walks to be planned. The connection will enable the public to comment so that errors can be corrected and additional information gathered.’
Starting this year, the Trust is going to sponsor a book a year on various Dartmoor topics such as farming, military, water. Simon Butler, a Trustee from Manaton, has written the first in the series on pubs. Sales of the book will help to replenish the Trust’s funds.

The Archive is undoubtedly the Trust’s most successful project. With 20,000 images and maps, it provides an important record of Dartmoor’s unique moorlands and predominantly farming communities. To provide users with the best experience, it is being re-designed to focus on the images, giving the public the opportunity to comment, adding oral and video imagery and setting up Dartmoor Data to archive documents.

The Worth Collection with 7,500 images is thought to be the last major collection of images of Dartmoor that is not available to the public. The Trustees have pledged £6,500 for the first part of the digitisation and are looking for volunteers to document the fascinating images.

Tony Clark added: ‘The Dartmoor Trust has a lot more to achieve for the good of Dartmoor. The success of the First World War project marks the start of a new phase; Archiving the Worth Collection, making the Heritage Environment Record more accessible, a photographic competition and raising funds to help preserve Dartmoor’s past and secure the future. To carry out our work we are looking for a few more hands on Trustees, and more funds through sponsorship and patrons. We also need volunteers to assist with digitising and adding information to the Archive.’

Bill Hitchins, Chairman of the DNPA, added his congratulations and welcomed the support given by the Trust to projects that safeguard antiquities and to local community projects.
Richard Bayly DL, speaking on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, said ‘I applaud the Dartmoor Trust for its support to Dartmoor over the past 20 years. Caring for our cultural heritage, wildlife and communities, and helping young people to understand their importance is vital to the protection of Dartmoor’s wonderful landscape.’

For more information, take a look at www.dartmoortrust.org. If you are interested in helping, please e mail the Dartmoor Trust at secretary@dartmoortrust.org .

Legendary Pubs

The village ‘local’ has been part of the moorland scene for centuries. In the past they have provided a focal point for small communities, accommodation for travelers and tourists, and a place for catching up on news and gossip over a pint. As buildings, they represent some of the oldest and least changed, and therefore hold an important place in how our towns and villages look today. Take away the pub and you remove a vital part of what make Dartmoor a special place. Yet we are losing over 25 pubs a week in this country and there’s many more that remain under threat.

Published in Association with the Dartmoor Trust Archive, Legendary Dartmoor Pubs & Inns includes over 300 photographs reinforcing the importance of our ‘locals’ both in the past and today. Legendary Dartmoor Pubs and Inns is the first in a series of books using photographs from The Dartmoor Trust Archive and promoting the work of The Dartmoor Trust.

In 1901 the creator of the world’s greatest detective visited Dartmoor in order to gather background information on what was to become the best-known detective mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Here Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drew upon local legends, place names and people, to populate his story, creating a work of enduring fame that is constantly retold in books, film and television.
In this book we follow in the footsteps of the Sherlock Holmes as he tracks the deadly hound around the moor, taking in the real places visited by the author and playing the role of sleuth ourselves in identifying the locations that provided his inspiration.

To add enjoyment to the ‘chase’ the book traces the origins of The Hound story to Dartmoor’s own legendary places, and links each to the moor’s historic public houses and inns. For those visiting Dartmoor the book provides a fascinating glimpse ‘behind the scenes’ of how the fictional story came to be written while offering the chance to explore real places with the added enticement of refreshment along the way.

Over 300 photographs, many dating from the time when The Hound was written, provide the reader with a picture of the moor as it looked when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited. They also remind the reader of the vital role that country inns play in rural communities, many sadly under threat and fast disappearing. Published in association with the Dartmoor Trust Archive, the book reinforces the importance of preserving our visual heritage not only as a reminder of the past but also in inspiring us to secure the best of what remains for future generations to enjoy.

Simon Butler is a writer and consultant to the publishing industry, having directly published over a thousand books during a long career. Having lived on Dartmoor for over 40 years, Simon is also a Director of the Dartmoor Trust and of two major regional arts organisations. All royalties from sales of Legendary Dartmoor Pubs and Inns will go to support the work of the Trust.

Simon’s other books include the bestselling The War Horses (covering the First World War), and a companion volume Goodbye Old Friend. More recent publications include The Farmer’s Wife, concerning the history of women workers on the land, and Land Girl Suffragette based on the life and work of the artist Olive Hockin who came to work on a Dartmoor farm in 1917.
Published at £9.99 by Halsgrove in August 2016 Legendary Dartmoor Pubs and Inns is a hardback book (210x148mm) of 128 pages and including over 300 photographs.